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The Travel RN Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

August 22, 2022

Being a travel nurse has many benefits. You get to see more of the nation or the world all while making a living doing what you do best. Have you considered how all that moving around affects the environment? Just because you have to traverse from one place to the next doesn’t mean you have to increase your carbon footprint, does it? What about global warming? Surely there’s a way to live an eco-friendly lifestyle while still traveling as a nurse, right? 

Being a travel nurse has many benefits. You get to see more of the nation or the world all while making a living doing what you do best. Have you considered how all that moving around affects the environment? Just because you have to traverse from one place to the next doesn’t mean you have to increase your carbon footprint, does it? What about global warming? Surely there’s a way to live an eco-friendly lifestyle while still traveling as a nurse, right? 

Turns out, there is. While it is true that driving long distances and hopping borders in a jet burn a significant amount of fossil fuels, you can reduce your contribution to CO2 emissions by adhering to a few simple tips. 

Skip the Plastic Bottles and Use Reusable Water Bottles Instead

Bottled water is convenient, there is no doubt about that. Whether at the gas station, in the airport, or at work, bottled water will quench your thirst for a tiny investment of only a few dollars. That small expenditure could cost the environment big time, however, when it comes to greenhouse emissions. 

You can reduce your carbon footprint by carrying a reusable bottle with you wherever you go. A 750 ml bottle refilled twice per day reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 200 kilograms CO2e or 450 pounds

Most medical facilities are perfectly cool with you having a reusable bottle at work and keeping hydrated is one of the best ways to stay on top of your game as a registered nurse (particularly on the night shift). 

Filling the bottle should be easy at airport drinking fountains, roadside filling stations, and while on the job. If you ever struggle to find a public water station, ask locals at restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions. 

Make sure the water bottle is BPA-free. A foldable bottle is best because it can fit into your carry-on or the glove-box of your rental while on the road. 

You will also cut down on waste by reusing a bottle. Around 22 billion water bottles are tossed out each year, enough to counter the weight of the Empire State Building

Use Reusable Tote Bags as Opposed to Grocery Bags

No matter where you travel for work, you are undoubtedly going to have to stock up on supplies. Food, drinks, toiletries, and other goods will sustain you while on assignment. As you check out of the store, hand the clerk your own reusable tote bags instead of opting for paper or plastic. Doing so can reduce your carbon footprint each time you go shopping.

Analysts estimate that Americans use 100 billion disposable plastic bags each year. Do you know how much oil goes into manufacturing that much plastic? Around 12 million barrels. One reusable tote bag often holds the same amount as two or three of those plastic bags put together. Many also have sturdy handles, so you’ll end up with fewer bags and an easier trip to and from the car. 

Buy Local at Every Turn 

It is no secret that most of our food is delivered on trucks from long distances. Go to your local chain restaurant and your average meal will be served with a healthy portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of consuming food from faraway places, do your best to eat and drink locally whenever possible.

Hitting up the local farmer’s market when on assignment and keeping to bars and restaurants with a farm-to-table policy gives you access to fresh, healthy food while supporting local economies. 

Go Meatless (At Least Once Per Week)

Going vegetarian isn’t feasible for everyone. But even meat eaters should be able to commit to a single day without pork, beef, or chicken. A tiny reduction in meat consumption, even one day a week, can drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Beef factory farms use around 1,850 gallons of water to produce a single pound of hamburger or steak. Compare that with 39 gallons of water for each pound of veggies. One meatless day per week can save 133 gallons of water. You will also save money, which is great for a travel RN who is trying to earn as much as possible while also preserving the planet. 

Conserve Energy at Home

Travel nursing often forces you to rent an apartment or home for weeks at a time. If you maintain a tax home, you may have two residents you are paying for simultaneously. You can reduce greenhouse emissions by unplugging electricity devices when not in use and by using energy-saving light bulbs whenever you can. 

Other tips for saving at home include turning off lights when leaving each room, switching to energy-efficient appliances, reducing water consumption, and keeping the thermostat at a low temperature. 

Volunteer While on your Travel Nursing Assignment 

Travel nursing can be lonely at times. One of the best ways to alleviate loneliness is to pair up with like-minded folks. How about volunteering with other responsible, eco-friendly warriors? Each time you find yourself on a travel nursing assignment, look up environment groups that always need a few new helping hands. These groups meet to clean up parks, and public roadways and have other creative ways of saving the planet while having a fun time doing it. 

Find Your Next Travel Nurse Job by Working with ProLink

You can’t get around burning fossil fuels as a travel nurse. The typical passenger vehicle emits 4.7 metric tons of CO2 per year and a cross-country flight emits around a quarter of that. You can limit your carbon footprint by making the above tips a habit every time you take on a new assignment. 

If you are ready for your next assignment, start searching for travel nurse jobs by applying to work with ProLink Healthcare Staffing. We make the process easy with our handy online application.

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